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Tartu’s New City Writer is Mart Kivastik

Tartu City Government Press Release

11 January / Today, at 13:00, Mart Kivastik was proclaimed Tartu City Writer of the Year 2023, at the Koidula and Jannsen Memorial Square, in the centre of Tartu.

Urmas Klaas, Mayor of Tartu, who presented the title of City Writer, said he was pleased that Tartu has a number of good writers whose work adds visibility and colour to Tartu’s cultural life. ‘Mart Kivastik’s work, spiced with Estonian humour, is well known throughout Estonia. I hope the city grant will give him a new creative impetus.’

‘Mart Kivastik is a truly multi-talented man, who has written prose and plays, made films, and also trained as a choirmaster. But above all, he is still a writer with a strong and worldly sense of character, who has long been asked why he is not yet Tartu’s City Writer. Mart Kivastik preserves Tartu’s bohemian heritage. And at the same time, he has a broader awareness in literature when it comes to perceiving the wider world, one that is befitting of the Capital of Culture,’ said Chairman Berk Vaher, commenting of the decision of the committee.

‘Whatever genre I’ve worked in, be it literature, theatre or film, one of the characters has usually been Tartu. In March, a film based on my novel Taevatrepp will premiere, which is also set and filmed entirely in Tartu,’ says Mart Kivastik, the new City Writer. ‘All my stories are related to Tartu in one way or another, so I am a writer of the City of Tartu by nature, so why not the City Writer for Tartu.’

Mart Kivastik is a freelance writer, playwright, producer and film director whose work has also been widely acclaimed. His plays Külmetava kunstniku portree and Põrgu wärk –which reflect the life of Estonian artists – have received several awards, and in the last decade he has been awarded the Tartu Culture Bearer of the Year Award, Go Travel’s Travel Book Award (Vietnami Retsept), the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Prize (Õnn Tuleb Magades) and the Eduard Vilde Literary Prize (Taevatrepp), and has been selected as a recipient of an artist’s salary from the state for the years 2020–2022.

The City of Tartu Writers Grant is being awarded for the seventh year and is one of Tartu’s activities as a UNESCO International City of Literature. The grant is intended for a creative person from Tartu who is active in the field of fiction or journalism, who is helping to revitalise local literary life and helping shape Tartu’s image as an internationally renowned city of literature.

In 2023, the grant will be €15,696, to be paid in equal monthly instalments.

Previous Tartu City Writers were Kristiina Ehin (2017), Mika Keränen (2018), Vahur Afanasjev (2019), Carolina Pihelgas (2020), Juhan Voolaid (2021), and Paavo Matsin (2022).


Helle Tolmoff

avalike suhete osakond

Tel: 736 1336
Mob: 529 4297

Last changed 11.01.2023